A few weeks ago I road-tripped to Collingwood; a community of 20,000 nestled on the south side of Georgian Bay. In the summer, area beaches draw hundreds of thousands. In colder days the town plays host to the ski and snowboard crowd visiting nearby Blue Mountain.
Recently Collingwood added another compelling reason to visit, spawning three, new, craft breweries. Side Launch recruited one of the country's most renowned brewers into its partnership group (Michael Hancock's Wheat is the 3rd highest ranked Hefeweizen on Ratebeer.com, while Dark Lager is the 2nd most revered Dunkel). Northwinds Brewhouse and The Collingwood Brewery set up shop within stumbling distance around the same time, making the small town a big destination for beer drinkers.
By the time I got home my cellar had several new temporary tenants; bottles I wouldn't have been able to find in Toronto.
Unfortunately Ontario's government-controlled liquor store (LCBO) heavily favours producers with well developed marketing plans. This means small brewers often have to choose between playing around with more innovative recipes or focusing on one style and promoting the hell out of it. Much of the the province's best beer is only available in pockets where it's produced. That's an incentive for passionate beer fans to explore the regions, but a major impediment to the growth of small business.
Enter The Brew Box Co. It's a beer-of-the-month service unlike others. Brew Box seeks out little-known Ontario breweries that might not have the resources to get into liquor stores, then pulls together “discovery packs” shipped to an ever-increasing membership. Its small staff sources limited releases consumers can only find at the brewery's bottle shop. If I can't visit all the brewers that put so much passion into their craft, I'm pretty damn happy when some of their best work travels to me.
The cool thing is, I've met the guys from Brew Box and they genuinely seem to love what they do, travelling around, selecting the good stuff and getting it to beer drinkers that truly appreciate it.
We hope JM&Sons provides a similar service. We recently produced a video to launch our new YouTube channel, featuring the company's founders, Junior and Mackenzie, doing what they love: making the journey part of their lives. We'll be producing a broader range of content in the weeks and months ahead – stuff you can use in your own life – so we hope you'll consider subscribing.
Bring The Journey Home isn't about where you've been. It's about bringing stories into your own space. It's an identity borne out of connecting to places and people that inspire you to live better. It might be in a beer or it could be on a bench.
Whatever it is, it lives on.